What you need to know:
“Our trip starts from Jinja City through the Ambercourt market roundabout into the dusty and rough Jinja-Budondo-Kamuli Road. We travelled about 16km through Budondo Sub-county headquarters to Bukongo.”
When Nile River is full of mystery and abundant treasures. I thought I knew Jinja too well, until a group of friends picked me up for a Sunday afternoon picnic. And it turned out to be a thrilling and entertaining expedition.
Our trip started from Jinja City through the Ambercourt market roundabout into the dusty and rough Jinja-Budondo-Kamuli Road. We travelled about 16km through Budondo Sub-county headquarters to Bukongo, from where we turned left and drove another three kilometres before reaching our destination.
Sights and sounds of rapids
Along the way, we were treated to sight of overloaded sugarcane trucks whizzing through dust, with plantations covering both sides of the road.
At the gate, we were ushered into the facility by a steward and each one of us paid Shs 5,000 for entrance. The sounds and ripples of gushing waters gave us a hint of what to expect. A relaxing atmosphere starts to engulf the air.
Inside, the place looks raw with a few touches that make you appreciate nature. People flock to the place for different reasons.
Blessing in disguise
While the pandemic ravaged the tourism and hospitality industry, Abudala Suuta, the proprietor of Busowoko Falls at the Busoga river bank, saw an opportunity.
According to Suuta, the area was originally bushy and he sought permission from authorities to develop it. “Today, we offer camping services, kayaking, tubing, and water massage, at friendly prices. People love this place and there are days when we host 200 guests during weekends,” he says.
Suuta’s customers are mainly domestic tourists from neigbouring districts and a good number of people travel from Kampala to come and wind off.
“Our initial plan was to ride to Itanda Falls. When we made a stopover at Busowoko Trading Centre for a drink, the locals advised us to check out Busowoko Falls. The falls present relaxing and magficent views,” one of the tourists told me. Suuta believes investing in local tourism can be beneficial but appeals to authorities to offer tax holidays to local investors in the industry and improve the road network.
“I love the serene environment; that is what brings me here mostly. If you are looking to unwind from the noisy and congested towns and cities, away from home, Busowoko is the place to be,” Geoffrey Ngalire, a coach with the Uganda Premier League Football Club tells me.
“I enjoy the water massage. I feel very relaxed whenever I am around and it reenergises me for the new week. I marvel at mother nature as waters hit the rocks for hours. This is a perfect place to meditate,” says Barnabas Owino Adit, a truck driver, says the water massage is all he needs for his back that sits for long hours.